Monday, September 12, 2016

Up the pole

About halfway along Great Portland Street, W1, lies an unremarkable building, known to Beeboids as Brock House.

It was built in 1907/8, and first named the St James's Hall. It switched to the Philharmonic Hall in 1914. As well as small classical concerts, it hosted The Southern Syncopators and Ernest Shackleton, giving regular lectures with slides and film clips of his Antartic adventures. At one stage in 1927, the BBC considered it as potential headquarters, but then did a deal to acquire Broadcasting House. They acquired the Philharmonic too in 1932, when the ground floor was being used as a car showroom, and renamed it Brock.

Now Brock is to be the intelligence centre of a new and bold initiative, led by charismatic HR operator Dale Haddon. It's code-named Project Oscar, and its breathtaking ambition is to get rid of those terms and conditions by which BBC staff gain income beyond their basic salary. Fair and proper, say the staff. Old-fashioned and too expensive say the management. A small team of Personnel Ninjas is being assembled, and so sure is Dale of delivery that they're only on six month contracts. (Not the only pressure - current residents of Brock have been told it will be emptied in late 2017, presumably ahead of an ill-guided disposal. The process, you'll not be surprised to learn, has been dubbed 'Broxit' by staff)

Regular readers will know the scale of the terms and conditions challenge, oft-attempted, thwarted and then re-filed in the "too difficult" box by previous DGs. Will Dale succeed where others have failed, and spend a happy retirement giving Shackleton-style slideshows of how he did it ?


  1. Someone's got to find the £2.2m cost of those BBC Trust offices from somewhere:

  2. Did Shackleton really lecture in Brock? Where did you ferret out that bit of history?

  3. So pleased you asked


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